I just found out (from this article) that over an average lifetime, social media users will spend approximately 5 years and 4 months on social media. 5 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS!!!! It’s no wonder I feel social media is zapping me of my life force! It’s literally taking up years of my life…
Luckily, there was some more uplifting and practical information from that article about how to use social media differently to positively impact your wellbeing.
This inspired me into today’s Live Your Freedom Now podcast episode, where I am discussing the Dominant Dogma: “To stay connected, I must be on social media.”
What I found out may just surprise you and offer you a different way to deal with the darker impact of social media if you choose to keep it as a tool for connection – one I haven’t seen talked about before.
And so, in today’s episode, I dive deeper into:
- The Dominant Dogma that says “To stay connected, I must be on social media”
- What defines and makes up social media platforms in 2022
- A peak at the dark side of why these platform are typically free and so time consuming
- The 2 key reasons you may be drawn to use, and keep using, social media
- Noticing how much time social media truly takes up in your life
- New research that offers how to engage on social media for wellbeing, if you still choose to use it
- An update on what to expect from the podcast over the next 2 months, that aligns with freeing myself from this Dominant Dogma
- How you can work with me closely through this process inside my one-on-one coaching space
Listen to the episode wherever you like to listen to your podcasts.
Hello, hello, freethinker,
Today I am writing to you from my dining table in Washington D.C. The weather outside has taken a swift turn towards fall so a chilly breeze is making its way through my space. I have a lovely cup of fresh coffee on my left, grad school books once again scattered across the surface in front of me, and some lovely golden fresh flowers on the windowsill off to my right. I feel content and tired from a less-than-ideal night’s sleep.
As I take a moment to pause and notice my inner and outer worlds, I encourage you to do the same. Notice the colors within your world, the objects around you, where the light hits, and where shadows fall. Notice the textures of what is holding you and what is around you. Notice how your body feels in your chair today, how your heart feels, and if there are any tender or tense spaces in your being. Not judging what you see and are experiencing, simply noticing it. Allowing it. Honor it with your brief attention and presence. This is a practice of freedom that you can utilize at any time. A practice to attune to your space and come home to your power.
Today, I am tackling the Dominant Dogma: To stay connected, you must be on social media. While I’ve discussed this from a business perspective in episode #14 and some of today’s content will overlap, I want to touch on this from a personal perspective and share statistics and research on how social media impacts one’s mindset. I’m going to briefly share why this Dominant Dogma exists, the freedom on the other side, and, pending you still want to opt-in, offer 1 research-based tip to use social media with a positive outcome. Finally, I’m going to wrap up today’s episode with a personal update and share what you can expect on the pod over the next two months (spoiler: I’m mirroring today’s “freedom on the other side” by taking a bit of a social and podcast pause).
Let’s dive in!
First off, as I shared in episode #14, I think it’s important to point out distinctions between social media and other spaces where one can share content online. Merriem Webster defines social media as, “forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)” – source
This in mind the top three popular social media platforms in 2022 are:
These platforms are typically designed as “free” spaces where companies make you their product. They gather your information and usage patterns in order to target you with relevant advertisements for their clients. As they “get to know you” their algorithms adjust to your behavior with the goal of essentially hypnotizing you into staying on their platforms, experiencing FOMO, then purchasing their client’s products so they make money.
That’s the dark side of why these platform are typically free.
There are also social media platforms such as Mighty Networks, Circle.so, and Patreon, among others, that function using a membership model where individuals or businesses pay to create their own private social media network, then you as the user typically pay that individual or business on a subscription or membership basis to be part of their niche platform. This model tends to be less invasive and can offer respite from the downward spiral that has resulted from the “free” social media business model.
Either way, most humans engage on these platforms for two key reasons:
1 – They are a business, and they are using these platforms as a branch of their marketing strategy.
2 – They are seeking to stay connected and develop relationships with other humans
While doing my research on this topic in early 2022, I ironically posted a poll on my Instagram asking how social media causes folks to feel. One response, in particular, seemed to sum it up well, “[Social media] takes up way too much time. It feels like it’s zapping me of viable energy and life force.”
This sensation many of us experience is not only a feeling, it’s backed up by research. An article in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science states that “the average social media user spends more time on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms than they do eating, drinking, socializing, or personal grooming. Over an average lifetime, social media users will spend approximately 5 years and 4 months on social media.”
It’s no wonder we feel social media is zapping us of our life force! It’s literally taking up years of our lives!
But life does not have to look like this.
The internalized Dominant Dogma that states you must use social media to connect with others uses a similar tactic as the social media creators themselves. Modifying your behavior by making you feel like you’re missing out.
But you do not have to buy into this illusion.
You are not missing out, cultivating deep relationships offline is possible, and developing meaning in your day-to-day does not require social media.
And that leads us to the freedom on the other side of this Dominant Dogma: The Freedom Of Choice
The fact is, you don’t need social media to cultivate connections if you don’t want it, and if you do want to use social media, that’s ok too! It’s truly your choice. Connection and relationship are core parts of our animalistic selves. The key is determining when and where you best develop connections and relationships and doing that.
If you do desire to stay on social media, keep in mind that it’s also your choice HOW you desire to engage. What are your boundaries? How long are you going to spend on socials each day? Are you going to actively engage, comment, and connect with others? Or passively consume what the algorithm feeds you?
In the same article cited above, they discuss research results that show simply engaging on social media does not impact wellbeing, it’s how one spends that time. The article shares the difference in well-being between passive social media users vs. active social media users. Active social media users who engage, comment, share, and work to connect with others on the platform tend to enjoy their social media engagement more. On the other hand, passive social media users, those who scroll, watch videos, and view stories without any engagement or communication with others tend to experience greater levels of FOMO, envy, and loneliness.
It’s HOW you engage that matters.
It’s your choice to claim personal freedom.
Which leads me to the research-based tip to engage on social media with a positive outcome: Engage! If you desire to use social media and feel less burnt out by it, I encourage you to actually USE it by commenting, liking, reposting, direct messaging, etc. Become an active user instead of a passive consumer. Do the work, just like you would in person, to connect with others.
And that is what I want to leave you with today. Remember, the freedom here is CHOICE. You get to choose if you are present on social media, how long, and at what level you actually engage. What feels good? What does not? What is ACCESSIBLE for you? What is not? And how do you want this to impact your REAL life. The tangible one in front of you. There are SO many spaces where you can connect, meet your people and cultivate meaning in your life, it’s just a matter of expanding past what you’ve been told to step into possibility.
As we wrap up today’s episode I want to share one final thing: a personal update and a heads up on what’s coming on the pod.
In the next two months, I’m wrapping up my first quarter of grad school, I’m leaving Washington D.C. as my partner’s work contract is completed, and my partner and I are making the trek across the country to officially move to Ventura, California. It is a LOT of change, and in the midst, I want to be present for my partner, my pup, and my family as I make time to spend with them during the transition.
That said, I have decided to mirror conscious choice in how I engage on social media and on this podcast by pausing writing new podcast episodes through November and December. However, I do want to offer you something as you are navigating the wild ride that is the holiday season so my team will be re-releasing past episodes until the new year. These episodes have been chosen based on the analytics of top played releases, so keep an eye out for your favorite episodes making their way back into your ears!
I can’t wait to be with you again in the new year, and until then
Freedom is yours,
Mentions & More:
- Considering this from a business perspective in my podcast episode: “Beating The Social Media Energy-Suck”
- Roberts, J. A., & David, M. E. (2022). On the outside looking in: Social media intensity, social connection, and user well-being: The moderating role of passive social media use. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science / Revue Canadienne Des Sciences Du Comportement. https://doi.org/10.1037/cbs0000323
- Jaron Lanier’s book, “10 Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.”
- The Merriem Webster definition of social media
- Send me the Dominant Dogma in your life to request I discuss it on a future episode of the podcast! Email me at email@example.com or shoot me a DM on instagram: @megscolleen
- My 1:1 coaching series. Book a FREE clarity call with me to get started: https://megscolleen.com/book-a-free-call/